PEN American Center, the international human rights and literary organization, announced the shortlisted titles and judges for the 2013 PEN Literary awards. The awards will honor literary excellence in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children’s literature,drama and translation. PEN will present 16 individual awards, grants and fellowships, awarding nearly $150,000 in prizes to writers, editors and translators.

Winners and runners-up will be announced later this summer and will be feted at the 2013 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony, October 21, 2013 at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City.

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2012—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

JUDGES: Tom Drury, Danielle Evans, and Donald Ray Pollock


A Land More Kind Than Home (William Morrow), Wiley Cash

A Naked Singularity (University of Chicago Press), Sergio de la Pava

My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), Jac Jemc

Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain (W.W. Norton & Co.), Lucia Perillo

Battleborn (Riverhead Books), Claire Vaye Watkins

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in the United States during 2011 or 2012.

JUDGES: Eliza Griswold, Maya Jasanoff, and Edward Mendelson


Iron Curtain (Doubleday), Anne Applebaum

Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Random House), Katherine Boo

Moby-Duck (Penguin Books), Donovan Hohn

God’s Hotel (Riverhead Books), Victoria Sweet

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2012 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Sven Birkerts, Robert Gottlieb, and Mark Kramer


What Light Can Do (Ecco), Robert Hass

The Story of America (Princeton University Press), Jill Lepore

Waiting for the Barbarians (New York Review Books), Daniel Mendelsohn

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2012.

JUDGES: Deborah Blum, Katherine Bouton, and Jerome Groopman


The Forest Unseen (Viking), David George Haskell

The Violinist’s Thumb (Little, Brown and Company), Sam Kean

Subliminal (Vintage Books), Leonard Mlodinow

Spillover (W.W. Norton & Co.), David Quammen

Rabid (Viking), Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2012.

JUDGES: Cyrus Cassells, Porochista Khakpour, and Tiphanie Yanique


Gun Dealers’ Daughter (W.W. Norton & Co.), Gina Apostol

When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press), Natalie Diaz

Allegiance (Wayne State University Press), Francine J. Harris

Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press), Brenda Shaughnessy

The Grey Album (Graywolf Press), Kevin Young

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2012.

JUDGES: Debby Applegate, Peter Orner, and Charles Shields


James Joyce (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Gordon Bowker

All We Know (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Lisa Cohen

A Difficult Woman (Bloomsbury), Alice Kessler-Harris

The Lives of Margaret Fuller (W.W. Norton & Co.), John Matteson

The Black Count (Broadway Books), Tom Reiss

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2012.

JUDGES: Jane Leavy, William Leitch, and Ben McGrath


Over Time (Grove Press), Frank Deford

Road to Valor (Broadway Books), Aili and Andres McConnon

Like Any Normal Day (St. Martin’s Press), Mark Kram, Jr.

Floyd Patterson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), W.K. Stratton

PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2012.

JUDGES: Barbara Shook Hazen, David Wiesner, and Cheryl Willis Hudson


Snakes (Scholastic), Nic Bishop

Oh, No! (Schwartz & Wade Books), Candace Fleming and illustrator Andrea Castellani

I Lay My Stitches Down (Eerdmans), Cynthia Grady and illustrator Michele Wood

Those Rebels, John & Tom (Scholastic), Barbara Kerley and illustrator Edwin Fotheringham

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau (Eerdmans), Michelle Markel and illustrator Amanda Hall

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2012.

JUDGE: Don Mee Choi


Spit Temple by Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse), Rosa Alcalá

Diadem by Marosa di Giorgio (BOA Editions), Adam Giannelli

Tales of a Severed Head by Rachida Madani (Yale University Press), Marilyn Hacker

The Smoke of Distant Fires by Eduardo Chirinos (Open Letter Books), G. J. Racz

Almost 1 Book/Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda (Burning Deck), Rosmarie Waldrop

The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books), Molly Weigel

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2012.

JUDGES: Margaret Carson, Bill Johnston, and Alex Zucker


A Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu (City Lights Books), Aron Aji and Fred Stark

Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), Alison Entrekin

Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Rosalind Harvey

The Cardboard House by Martín Adán (New Directions), Katherine Silver

The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Galileo Publishers), Donald O. White


(The following PEN Awards do not have shortlists but are listed below to announce the participation of those authors who are judging the awards. The winners will be announced in August along with all of the winners for the book awards.)

PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): To a new and emerging poet of any age who has not published more than one book of poetry.

JUDGES: Henri Cole, Dorianne Laux, and Robert Wrigley

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award For an American Playwright in Mid-Career and a Master American Dramatist ($7,500): A pair of awards, which honor a Master American Dramatist and an American Playwright in Mid-Career.

JUDGES: Pam MacKinnon, Christopher McElroen, and Tim McHenry

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): To an author of children’s or young-adult fiction, who has published at least two novels, to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

JUDGES: Deborah Heiligman, Angela Johnson, Julie Anne Peters

PEN/Nora Magid Award ($2,500): To honor a magazine editor whose high literary taste have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits.

JUDGES: Jin Auh, Robin Desser, and Anna Holmes

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To a writer whose body of work represents an exceptional contribution to the field.

JUDGES: David Granger, Laura Hillenbrand, and Steve Isenberg

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000): To support the translation of book-length works into English.

JUDGES: Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Michael F. Moore*, Richard Sieburth, Lauren Wein, Eliot Weinberger, Natasha Wimmer, and Matvei Yankelevich (*Non-voting chair of the PEN Translation Fund Advisory Council.)